ISSUE 23  |  Summer Color

Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia

June 05, 2012 7:30 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

Share This:

Restaurateurs Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr make an unlikely pair. The two joined forces last year to create Talula's Garden, a restaurant that plays to both of their strengths.

Olexy owns Talula's Table, a 12-seat restaurant in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which boasts a year-long waiting list for its celebrated farm-to-table fare. As for Starr, it's almost easier to list the restaurants he doesn't own in Philadelphia–the latest count puts him at 20 restaurants in the city, plus seven more in NYC, Atlantic City, and Florida. (Some of his most famous include Buddakan, Morimoto, and–a personal favorite from my time in Philadelphia—French bistro Parc.) The fruit of their shared labor is Talula's Garden, a 102-seat Starr restaurant with the spirit of a gardener's dinner table. Olexy designed the space herself, in conjunction with landscape design firm Groundswell. She likes "organic, undesigned spaces," a contrast to Starr's usual hyper-designed approach. In the end, the design (like everything else) is very much a joint result.

Above: A no-fail gardener's color palette of green, wood, and white.

Above: Simple planter boxes serve the design intention of making the patio look like someone's (really nice) back patio.

Above: A collection of vintage cake stands and cloches is used to display the restaurant's impressive daily cheese offerings.

Above: Mismatched garden chairs provide an ad hoc look. Table centerpieces vary, but always include greenery (of course).

Above: The food presentation matches the decor perfectly. Here, mushroom pâté en croûte.

Above: Wall tile and colored glass pendants lend a Moroccan vibe to the front entrance and bar.

Above: Groundswell created a functioning waterfall from vintage faucets.

Above: The pergola overhead is cantilevered, made from a reclaimed truss.